Loading
Catholic Relief Services' forced closure in Sudan endangers hungry (Updated)
Staffers from Catholic Relief Services' Sudan branch. Credit: Karen Kasmauski
Staffers from Catholic Relief Services' Sudan branch. Credit: Karen Kasmauski
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Updated March 29, 2011 at 11:40 a.m. MST. Adds report in paragraphs 11 and 12 that CRS has been allowed to resume operations.

Catholic Relief Services has announced that it will be forced to close its food program in Sudan’s West Darfur state at the end of March because the government cannot guarantee its security.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have been cut off from aid,” the relief agency’s president Ken Hackett said on March 26. “We call upon the Sudanese government to immediately restore the flow of food aid to the people of West Darfur by either allowing us to resume our service, or urgently finding an alternative.”

The closure could deprive 400,000 people of emergency food supplies.

Catholic Relief Services spokeswoman Sara Fajardo told Agence France Presse that the government asked the agency to leave because “they couldn’t guarantee our security.”

The Sudanese government accused the agency of distributing Bibles and suspended its operations in January, but the agency has denied the claim.

Catholic Relief Services builds schools and provides education, emergency shelter and water and sanitation supplies in Darfur.

“This is completely wrong,” Fajardo said. “It is against all our operating principles.”

“We are a humanitarian organization whose work is based on need and not creed. The majority of our staff in Darfur are Muslim,” she added.

Mohamed Awad, head of the government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission in the state, told Reuters that Bibles had been found in refugee camps and schools and the governor had ordered an investigation which concluded they had been handed out by CRS.

The allegations of Bible distribution had resulted in a perceived safety threat to agency staff.

On March 29, Catholic Relief Services was allowed to resume food distribution in the country. Kim Pozniak, spokeswoman for the group's Sub-Saharan Africa office, was not able to provide information on why the food aid program was allowed to resume or whether or not the agency had been cleared of the Bible distribution charges. 

Pozniak told CNA on March 29 that Catholic Relief Services would not be issuing additional commentary on the situation at this time. 

Renewed fighting between rebels and the Sudanese army since December is believed to have created more than 70,000 displaced persons.

The United Nations says at least 300,000 people have been killed in the conflict since 2003, when non-Arab rebels first rose up against the Arab-dominated regime based in Khartoum. The government estimates the death toll at 10,000.

The International Criminal Court in 2009 issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He responded by expelling 13 of the largest foreign aid groups working there.

In February 2011 Sudan expelled the French agency Medecins du Monde, accusing it of spying and helping rebels.

Aid operations have also been hindered by a lack of security and kidnappings of foreign workers.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
18

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14